Scars - After your skin is cut or injured, scars form as part of the healing process. The skin regenerates itself by growing new tissue to pull the wound together and fill in the gaps left by the injury. Scar tissue is mainly made of a protein called collagen.
Almost everyone gets some kind of scar, whether it's from an accident, surgery, acne, or an illness like chicken pox (varicella). Scars affect people of all ages and genders.
When it first appears on lighter skin, it is usually pink or red. Over time, the pink color fades, becoming slightly darker or lighter than the skin color. In people with dark skin, scars often appear as dark spots.
The appearance of scars depends on a number of factors, including:
- An injury or event that causes scarring, such as surgery, a burn, or severe acne
- The size, severity and location of the wound
- Treatment you received for the wound, such as stitches or bandages
- Your age, genes, ethnicity and general health
There are several types of scars:
- Contracture: Contracture, which often develops after a burn, causes the skin to contract. These scars can make it difficult to move, especially if the scar extends into muscles and nerves or occurs over a joint.
- Depressed (atrophic): These are caused by chicken pox or acne. They look like rounded pits or small depressions in the skin. Also called ice pick scars, they most commonly develop on the face. As we age, acne scars can become more noticeable as the skin loses collagen and elasticity over time.
- Flat: Although initially slightly raised, this type of scar flattens out as it heals. Flat scars are often pink or red. Over time, they may become slightly lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
- Keloids: These scars rise above the surface of the skin and extend beyond the scarred area. Ingrown scar tissue can grow and affect movement.
- Raised (hypertrophic): You can feel a hypertrophic scar when you run your finger over it. These raised scars may shrink over time, but never completely flatten. Unlike keloids, they do not grow or spread beyond the scarred area.
- Stretch Marks: When the skin expands or contracts rapidly, the connective tissues beneath the skin can be damaged. Stretch marks often develop during pregnancy, puberty, or after gaining or losing a lot of weight. They usually appear on the breasts, stomach, thighs and upper arms.